One of the perks of downloading the free iOS 13.2 software update, if you have an iPhone 11, 11 Pro or Pro Max, is getting to Apple’s Deep Fusion bag of camera tricks.
First announced in September as “computational photography mad science,” you’re basically getting a super multiple exposure that can produce a way sharper image.
That’s the promise anyhow. In our tests around the USA TODAY offices Tuesday, it was very hard to see the difference, unless we zoomed in all the way, and even then, it was subtle.
Example below: Take a good look at the lemon, and notice the sharpness and detail on the skin of the fruit, then compare to the shot below. Notice how much sharper the first one is?
Deep Fusion is one of those maddening Apple automatic tools. You can’t click a button to get it, nor will you see any messaging that you’re now using it. It’s just there.
It’s not aimed at producing amazing shots in super low-light. That’s reserved for Apple’s Night Mode, which like Deep Fusion is available only for the 11 Pro and Pro Max cameras.
Night Mode also takes multiple images and merges them together to produce a bright shot in darkness; but unlike Deep Fusion, you get told by Apple that you’re using Night Mode because the iPhone instructs you to stand still while taking the photo.
To tell the difference between Deep Fusion and the regular camera, you go to Settings, Camera, click on “Photos Capture Outside the Frame,” and that will knock out Deep Fusion.
While it’s hard to see huge differences, zoom in on ultra-close-ups, as with these images below of rugs at the USA TODAY offices. See the detail?
Deep Fusion works most often with the telephoto portrait lens and in medium to low light situations with the wide lens. Like with Night Mode, which doesn’t work on the new ultra-wide lens, neither does Deep Fusion.
The software tricks won’t work on older iPhones. But as with Portrait mode and other new features introduced over the past few years, new ones tend to work their way down to older phones eventually.
To get the software, go to Settings, General, Software Update, and be sure to turn on Wi-Fi to begin the download.
The best use of Deep Fusion seems to be images that pop with lots of texture, like rugs, sweaters, beards, cats, dogs and the like.
Readers: Do you have an updated iPhone 11? We’d love to see your Deep Fusion images. Post me a note on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham.